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I rent an apartment in a block of flats. Tenants are given an assigned car parking space in a basement-level parking lot, for which they also pay a monthly rent.

The landlord has written to us stating that the car parking space is permitted only for parking one’s private car. They went on to state that a set of spare tyres or a bicycle and/or bicycle trailer are "tolerated". Claiming fire and safety regulations, no other personal items may be stored.

As my cellar is full, I have placed some bulkier items i.e. an old pram and buggy in my otherwise redundant car parking space.

  • The items are folded together and placed against the back wall
  • 90% of the parking space area is still free.
  • My items do not obstruct any access or fire escape route.

My understanding of the notice is that I am not permitted to do this. Why?

What is the reason for such a regulation? Obviously they wouldn't want tenants dumping a huge mountain of junk in their parking areas, but what risk does a pram constitute?

Can the landlord force me to remove my stuff from my own rented parking space?

Thanks for any insights into this situation.

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    I suspect the answer will depend on the details of the contract.
    – User65535
    Nov 28, 2023 at 10:14
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    Fire load is a serious concern in garages.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 28, 2023 at 17:15
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    "Obviously they wouldn't want tenants dumping a huge mountain of junk in their parking areas, but what risk does a pram constitute?" Try coming up with a rule that you think allows the sensible and disallows the insensible. Now, how sure are you that you have not left any gap for insensible things to happen, or sensible things to be unnecessarily prohibited? Additionally, how much time is this taking you and what do you really personally stand to gain? As much as I dislike them in general, near-to-zero tolerance rules are almost always created by absence of a more sensible boundary.
    – Flater
    Nov 28, 2023 at 22:28
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    You mention you "also pay a monthly rent" for the parking space. That wording implies that this is a different rent from the apartment one. Is that correct? In other words, do they come as an inevitable package deal or not?
    – Flater
    Nov 28, 2023 at 22:30
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    Can you buy a cheap junk vehicle, put it in the space, and then put your stuff in the vehicle?
    – user4574
    Nov 29, 2023 at 1:51

2 Answers 2

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My understanding of the notice is that I am not permitted to do this. Why?

Because the "Garagenverordnung" (Link) of most federal states and other regulations say so. Your landlord is probably the owner of the building, so it is on them to make sure it is followed. They do this by telling their tennants to follow the regulations.

The ADAC summarizes this as follows:

What is allowed to be stored in the garage?

In addition to the number of vehicles in relation to the number of parking spaces in a garage (single garage one, double garage two, etc.), items belonging to the car may be stored. This includes, for example

  • tires
  • Roof racks and roof boxes
  • jacks
  • Operating materials such as antifreeze, oil, windshield cleaner - at least in insignificant quantities
  • Some fuel in limited quantities (the garage regulations of the respective federal state may contain information on this)

Being the biggest German automobile club, I think they know what they are talking about, even without quoting the exact line of the regulation.

What is the reason for such a regulation? Obviously they wouldn't want tenants dumping a huge mountain of junk in their parking areas, but what risk does a pram constitute?

Well, they have to draw a line somewhere. I'm not sure when "a mountain" of something starts legally. Or at which point enough stuff becomes a fire hazard. The easiest way is to just say "in a place designated as garage, a car and things to operate a car are legal to store, other things are not. So for example I'm pretty sure a child car seat would be fine, a stroller is not. Is one more of a hazard than the other? No. But that is not the point. There has to be a line somewhere and this is where the legislative drew it.

Can the landlord force me to remove my stuff from my own rented parking space?

Depends on your definition of "force", but they can have it removed if you don't do it, since it is against building regulations and a safety/fire hazard and they can terminate your lease for cause (and evict you, if you don't move out on your own) if you don't comply. So yes... they can do that.

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    American here: what is the applicability of these regulations? Is it illegal to use a privately owned garage for storage in Germany?? Or is this for commercial/shared garages only? In America, a lot of garages get used to store pretty much anything except cars, so this notion is a little wild to me. Nov 28, 2023 at 19:08
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    @GlennWillen In your privately owned garage, where a fire would not impact any neighbors, nobody cares (but you can't convert them into an apartment because insulation, sanitation and similar requirements, and if a garage fire causes your house to burn down you'll have an interesting conversation with your insurance). However, if a garage is shared, and stuff that happens inside the garage could affect somebody else, there's a lot more regulation designed to prevent the spread of fire, spill of hazardous liquids, and many things more. Nov 28, 2023 at 21:33
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    @GlennWillen my reading (I'm not German), the overall regulations apply to all garages, but many subsections distinguish between "small", "medium", and "large" garages, with ones under 100m^2 being "small". For instance the Rhineland-Palatinate GarStellVO says "In Mittel- und Großgaragen ist die Aufbewahrung von brennbaren Stoffen außerhalb von Kraftfahrzeugen nicht zulässig" ("The storage of combustible materials outside of motor vehicles is not permitted in medium-sized and large garages").
    – hobbs
    Nov 28, 2023 at 21:51
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    @GlennWillen It is often illegal to use your private garage for storage (but in 99% of the cases, nobody cares). The reason: Garages are allowed to build at places where you would not be allowed to build a shed, garden house etc. The idea was to reduce the number of cars parking on the street. They did not want people just build garages for storage and then park their car on the street. Nov 29, 2023 at 8:26
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    @GlennWillen Germany has more people renting than owning their places, so there's more pressure for the country to have rules in place. It's probably also fair to say that Germany is a bit more rules-centred than other places!
    – Graham
    Nov 29, 2023 at 12:36
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What does your contract say?

If it identifies the space as a parking space, then it is not a storeroom, and the landlord would be within their rights not to allow you to treat it as one, irrespective of whether there are regulations preventing it or not.

What do the building rules say?

Notwithstanding the lease, if the building has rules not allowing storage in car spaces, those would be enforcable on the tenant. Such rules might be in place for any reason, including that storing stuff in car spaces just looks messy.

What do the regulations say?

Notwithstanding either of the above, if it's illegal to store stuff in parking spaces, it's illegal. Why it's illegal is off-topic for this site but it's likely to be more about increasing the potential fuel load in a fire than blocking escape paths - car spaces full of cars burn differently to car spaces full of paper, timber and flammable liquids.

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    QA asked what are the rules. They did not ask for a recommendation to follow the rules. I guess they already know it by themselves.
    – FluidCode
    Nov 30, 2023 at 13:32

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